In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7)
There's that word again...BLOOD! It boggles my mind to think that some churches will not allow the word "blood" or any songs containing the word "blood" to be part of their service. "It's offensive to children". I received a post card in the mail the other day announcing the performance of a "family friendly" reenactment of the crucifixion. "Family friendly"??? Have they even bothered to see what's on television that kids watch??? Oh yeah, that's why we have problems - the violence we grew up with on television. Without the blood there would be no sacrifice. Without the blood there would be no forgiveness. I also received word that one of the larger denominations now tells its parishioners that they shouldn't fast - "it's not healthy". Yes, I did roll my eyes at that one!
Forgiveness comes to us through the shed blood of Jesus. There is no other way and there is no "nice" way to put it. The image of my Savior, nailed to that cross for me, is all I need sometimes to remember how blessed I am. There is nothing I could sacrifice that could even come close to that. Christ became the ultimate "sacrificial lamb" ~ the resonance of the bloody offering by Abel, the bloody offering by the Israelites before their escape from Egypt! We are no longer bound by the "law" to sacrifice a living animal, but we are bound by the "law" to offer prayer and to fast. Fasting is an act of humility before God. It is not something we do to get something in return. We've already received that which we fast for. It's not a "political" statement. Jesus tells us to do it so that no one knows we are doing it - only God! It's a way to remember the sacrifice of blood - when those hunger pangs kick in - remember the pain of Christ! Your pain is nothing compared to that!
In all that Jesus has done for us, is it asking too much to show your devotion to him by going without? Obviously, if you have a physical ailment that would prevent you from fasting, it would be ill-advised to do so - but how many of us make up excuses why we can't fast? We don't fast out of selfishness. Imagine if Jesus decided on "Good Friday" that it was "not convenient" for him to offer himself as a sacrifice for all mankind. Stop looking for a way around the commands of God and start living a life that is pleasing to him! Offer a small, but meaningful sacrifice and glorify God! Put your whole heart into it and it will be accepted as Abel's offering was. If you can take a "mental health" day off from work occasionally, why can't you take a "spiritual health" day instead - it's much more rewarding!
In all that we do, if we show true honor and praise to the Father, we will continue to be blessed. If we whine and complain about it, well...you know the rest. Set aside one day, one complete 24 hour period for God! Offer it for all he's done for you. He'll accept your offering - he promised!